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400 Day LETS Odyssey
Copyright � James Taris

JAMES TARIS around the World- (2003-4)

At the opening of yet another LETS shop in Rotterdam.

HOLLAND - Amsterdam (Wk.1 of 2 weeks)
Week 17 of World Tour

LETS Shops in Rotterdam

Whereas Amsterdam has Noppes, the largest LETS group in Holland (or maybe the world!) with over 920 members, Rotterdam has LETS Ruilwinkels, or LETS shops, which were introduced to use people’s ‘unused qualities’ and have a combined membership of over 1,300.

The Rotterdam LETS Shops were introduced about 6 years ago and are supported financially by the local government which pays all rental costs and the LETS shop co-ordinator’s wages. The first shop proved to be so successful that now there are 5 LETS Shops in operation.

And the only requirement these shops need to achieve in order to keep their funding is to recruit 200 members within their first 12 months (trial period), and keep them.

And this is how it works …

The members join for free and can trade with any of the 5 LETS shops. All they need to join is to supply a photo and ID.

The shops offer goods and services to the general public but these cannot be purchased for cash! Only LETS credits are acceptable, so people need to become members of the LETS shop in order to make a purchase. Then they repay their debt by offering their own goods and services through the shop.

Each member makes a purchase first, then they bring something back to the shop which they leave on consignment. The items are labeled with the member’s membership number and the price in LETS credits. Then when it’s sold, the supplying member’s account is credited and the buying member’s account is debited.

The goods offered comprise of used books, clothes, toys, etc. and also handicrafts made by the members. Each member puts his own price on the goods, but the credits aren’t added to the member’s account until they are sold.

There is also a notice board in the shop displaying the various services offered by each member. But a more comprehensive list of goods and services offered is on the shop’s computer system. So when a member needs something done, they can choose to make the contact themselves from the notice board or ask the LETS shop co-ordinator to search the Members Directory on the computer and make the contact for them.

A LETS Ruilwinkels newspaper is printed 4 times per year and either posted to the members or left in the shop to be collected (as the LETS shop co-ordinator chooses).

The last shop was opened in February this year and has already got 386 members. And although one of the shops is due to be closed soon because of a lack of members, another one has been approved for opening. So the LETS Shops in Rotterdam look like they’ll be around for a very long time.

This article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey

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